Award winning financial literacy advocate drives success with unique client segmentation approach

With a trademark ‘can-do’ approach, a leading Australian financial planner and advocate for client centric professional advice has revealed some of her winning business ways, forged by investing greater time in her clients’ education and financial literacy.

Eleanor Dartnall is the 2014 AFA Adviser of the Year* and principal of a growing financial planning practice based in the Southern Highlands, NSW. Her practice was founded on the core principle of “informed client consent”.

Against the orthodoxy of a profession that predominantly segments clients based on monetary value or investment worth, Ms. Dartnall segments her clients individually, based on their practical financial knowledge. That level of knowledge dictates dictates what knowledge gaps she need to fill, via an array of self-developed tools including flipcharts and glossaries.

She does not charge for this time, and as she explained at a recent adviser roadshow, believes that time spent educating clients is “never a burdensome cost, but rather an investment in her clients”.

Ms. Dartnall says her new clients generally fall into three basic client ‘types’: learners, self-directed and delegators. But regardless of sophistication, each new client experiences the same Dartnall-created approach, beginning with a one hour initial meeting and the presentation of a blank 128 page journal.

“The journal represents the beginning of self-responsibility for the client. It is in here that a client makes notes, jots ideas, drafts questions – it is a living and engaging record of their growing understanding of the advice process, and the rationale for the portfolio or strategy we may construct together.

 “When I ask a client to sign off on a statement of advice I want them to completely understand exactly what they are signing off on,” she said.

The Dartnall “informed consent” segmentation model represents a unique approach when measured against similar financial advice practices. Recent research** conducted by Zurich, shows that a majority of advisers (75 per cent) currently segment their clients based on their monetary value (a combination of fees paid, assets under management, net worth or income level).

Less than five per cent segment clients by their financial literacy. A majority (80 per cent) said they managed their client segmentation with online tools (CRM or in-house software).

When asked about the impact of their preferred segmentation approach on their business, the poll revealed one third (32.9 per cent) said it had zero impact or they were unsure of its impact.

40 per cent said it improved profitability, whilst 38 per cent recorded increased customer satisfaction levels.

Ms. Dartnall’s emphasis on informed consent and education - in conjunction with an overhaul of her client review process – has seen her client referral rate improve from 2 per cent to 88 per cent, and her overall client retention rate improve to 100 per cent.

*Zurich Australia is the foundation partner of the AFA Adviser of the Year award

**Online survey of 213 advisers conducted on behalf of Zurich by Beaton Research and Consulting, March 2015

For an interview with Eleanor Dartnall or further information contact:

Richard Dunkerley
Head of Marketing and Communications
Zurich Financial Services Australia
Mobile: +61 (0) 0401 105 714


Zurich Insurance Group (Zurich) is a leading multi-line insurance provider with a global network of subsidiaries and offices in Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East as well as other markets. It offers a wide range of general insurance and life insurance products and services for individuals, small businesses, mid-sized and large companies as well as multinational corporations. Zurich employs about 60,000 people serving customers in more than 170 countries. The Group, formerly known as Zurich Financial Services Group, is headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, where it was founded in 1872. The holding company, Zurich Insurance Group Ltd (ZURN), is listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange and has a level I American Depositary Receipt program (ZURVY) which is traded over-the-counter on OTCQX. Further information about Zurich is available at

Contains general information only. It does not take into account the personal investment objectives, financial situation or needs of any person. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. Investors should consider the relevant Zurich fund Product Disclosure Statement and seek advice from appropriately qualified financial advisers when making financial decisions. Zurich Investment Management Limited ABN 56 063 278 400, AFSL 232511, GIIN FVHHKJ.00012.ME.036 - 5 Blue Street North Sydney NSW 2060